Charles Guthrie

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General the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE: Charles Guthrie (Born 17 November 1938) is the former Chief of Staff of UK Armed Forces. Since his retirement from the military he has held a wide range of private sector roles.


[Guthrie] was educated at Harrow School and went to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1957 and was commissioned into the Welsh Guards in 1959 He served with his Regiment in the United Kingdom, Libya, Germany and Aden. In 1966 he joined the SAS and served in the Middle East, Malaysia and East Africa. In 1970 he returned to the Welsh Guards and for two years commanded an armoured infantry company in Germany. After a year as a student at the Staff College, he served in the Ministry of Defence as the Assistant to the Head of the Army, the Chief of the General Staff. From 1975-1977 he was the Brigade Major of the Household Division and from 1977-1980 he commanded the Welsh Guards in Berlin and Northern Ireland.
He was appointed as a Colonel to the branch overseeing operations worldwide and during his time there became briefly the Commander British Forces New Hebrides (Vanuatu) and recaptured the island of Espirito Santo, which had been taken over by 'insurgents'.
In 1981 he was appointed Commander of the 4th Armoured Brigade in Munster, West Germany, following which he was Chief of Staff, Headquarters 1st British Corps in Bielefeld.
Apart from holding a number of senior staff appointments, he commanded an Armoured Brigade, an Infantry Division, 1st British Corps, the British Army of the Rhine, and the Northern Army Group before becoming Chief of the General Staff (Head of the Army in 1994). He became the General Officer Commanding the 2nd Infantry Division and North East District in 1985. In 1986 he became Colonel Commandant of the Intelligence Corps. After a further tour in the Ministry of Defence he became in succession the Commander of the 1st British Corps, the Northern Army Group, the British Army of the Rhine before becoming the Chief of the General Staff and finally the Chief of the Defence Staff (1997-2001). [1]

He is Colonel of The Life Guards, Gold Stick to The Queen and Colonel Commandant of the SAS.

Electoral intervention

In May 2010 Guthrie was a signatory of a letter to The Times criticising Liberal Democrat defence and security policies two days before the General Election. The letter criticised the Liberal Democrats for threatening a ‘long-standing cross-party consensus about national security.’ In particular it criticised the Liberal Democrats for making ‘no reference to North Korea’ or to Nato in their manifesto, for allegedly advocating ‘a much more distant relationship’ with the US, and for suggesting that they might scrap control orders (under which suspects can be kept under effective house arrest without charge) and Britain’s commitment to developing new nuclear weapons. The letter argued that ‘An enhanced European defence and security posture, however welcome, cannot substitute for American power.’ [2] The letter was also signed by Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, and Peter Clarke, the former head of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command. [3]

Present and past post-retirement roles

Wall Street Journal investigation

In an investigation by the Wall Street Journal on interests of the House of Lords, Guthrie revealed he was no longer an adviser to Canaccord Genuity Hawkpoint Limited, and that more of his time is spent on charitable efforts such as serving on a hospital board. Subsequently, the entry on Parliament page relating to Canaccord was removed on the 6 October 2014.[8][9]


  1. details of his army career are available from the NATO website at
  2. Letter: Lib Dems and national security’, The Times, 4 May 2010.
  3. Letter: Lib Dems and national security’, The Times, 4 May 2010.
  4. see the Register of Lord's Interests available at
  5. About Us, JNF UK, accessed 8 August 2012.
  6. Douglas Davis Ben-Gurion University launches European professional council, The Jerusalem Post May 1, 2002 Wednesday, Pg. 5
  8. House of Lords Wall Street Journal, accessed 19 December 2014
  9. Interest amendments Parliament.UK, accessed 19 December 2014